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Flower Master [Turtleback]

Sujata Massey
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 2001 0606218408 978-0606218405

Life in Japan for a transplanted California with a fledging antiques business and a nonexistent love life isn't always fun, but when the flower arranging class Rei Shimura's aunt cajoles her into taking turns into a stage for murder, Rei finds plenty of excitement she's been missing.

Unfortunately too many people have a reason for committing the crime--her aunt included. While struggling to adjust to the nuances of Japanese propriety, trying to keep her business afloat, and dealing with veiled massages left under her door, Rei sifts the bones of old skeletons to keep her family name clear--and her own life safe from an enemy with a mysterious agenda. If Rei doesn't want to be crushed like fallen cherry blossoms, she's going to have to walk a perilous line and uncover the killer with a dramatic flare for deadly arrangements.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Description

From Amazon

Rei Shimura, a twentysomething Japanese American antiques dealer, returns for a third outing in Sujata Massey's series set in Japan (Zen Attitude, The Salaryman's Wife). In The Flower Master, Rei's former boyfriend has left Japan, and her antiques business is only slightly more successful than her love life. Then she's dragooned by her aunt Norie into enrolling at a famous Tokyo ikebana school. Rei's not a natural at the ancient art of flower arranging, but she has a talent for sleuthing, which comes in handy when the head teacher at the Kayama School is found dead--with a pair of flower shears exactly like the ones Norie gave her lodged in her neck.

Rei's efforts to find the killer and unravel the secrets entwining her Tokyo family with the Kayamas move the action along, but the real mystery is whether the budding romance between the California girl who can't quite find her place in the tradition-bound society of modern Japan and the handsome environmental activist slated to take over as iemoto (headmaster) of the school will flower into lasting love. Intrigue and multiple murders spice the romance, along with a fascinating explication of ikebana's enduring history. Rei is a lively protagonist who brings the reader along for an entertaining and subtle lesson in Japanese culture as well as in the dangers involved in digging up buried family skeletons. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

A volatile yet harmonious mix of ancient Eastern traditions, modern American chutzpah and some inexplicable violence characterizes Massey's hardcover debut (after the mass market The Salaryman's Wife and Zen Attitude). Rei Shimura, 28 and a San Francisco transplant, is a Tokyo antiques buyer who is taking a flower-arranging course at a prestigious ikebana school run by the Kayama family. Of mixed American and Japanese parentage, Rei is constantly upbraided by her staid aunt Norie for her less-than-perfect conduct. But when an instructor at the school, Sakura, is killed, apparently with Norie's gardening shears, it takes Rei's Western impudence and grit and her entire store of charm to get to the bottom of the caseAwhich grows more complex as Rei finds out about Mr. Kayama's unsavory past and her aunt's surprising relationship with him. What's more, Mr. Kayama's son, the heir apparent to the school's directorship, is inexplicably linked to an extremist environmental group trying to shut down the school. The narrative is enhanced greatly by the richly detailed Tokyo setting, from ancient tea houses to arcane rituals involving the cherry blossom festival. With such a gratifying background and such an appealing sleuth, it scarcely matters that an overly melodramatic finale mars the novel's resolution. Agents, Ellen Geiger and Dave Barbor at Curtis Brown. (May) FYI: The Salaryman's Wife won the 1998 Agatha Award for Best First Novel.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, but missing something.... Sept. 4 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As always Sujata Massey takes us into the world of life in Japan allowing us to learn about a culture so alien to ours through the eyes of a half japanese woman named Rei Shimura. In this volume Rei is caught up in a murder in the world of ikebana - flower arranging.
The descriptions of life in Japan, the characters, the situations are all beautifully rendered in words and the book is a fantastic read. Except...
I really felt a bit disappointed by the ending. While I don't turn reading a mystery into a contest, I do like to match my wits against the writer - as many readers do. In this book, however, the identity of the murderer comes out of nowhere. There are no clues dropped, no subtle hints about their personality or motives, nothing that could make the reader even subconciously place this person in the list of suspects. And in the end the motive that is given to the killer is singularly confusing and contradictory. The killer torments one woman for years because of a perceived slight against an august family, yet turns around and steals from that same family in order to raise money. Why they want the money is never disclosed, and why they would steal from people they appear to honor and hold in high esteem is confusing.
I would have liked a crisper and better defined ending, though I did enjoy the book :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best So Far June 17 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I keep trying to find an adjective that appropriately describes Sujata Massey's piquant and wonderful Rei Shimura series. With this third, and best, addition to the series, I think I have found one, although it hardly describes the talent of the writer: delicate.
Exquisite delicacy, akin to the ikebana arrangements described in this book, is the hallmark of Massey's wonderful mysteries. Imagine murder, mayhem, forensics, and all the rest of the usual crime-novel/mystery genre told in a setting of kimono, cherry blossoms, the aforementioned ikebana and the constant east-west conflict of the heroine, and you have a slight idea of just how different these books are--and just how delightful.
This story finds half Japanese-half American Rei Shimura thriving as an antiques dealer, despite the end of her tumultuous relationship with Scotsman Hugh Glendinning. Dragged to her aunt's ikebana school for lessons (as part of her aunt's ongoing project--making Rei comfortable with her Japanese side), Rei soon stumbles on a murder. And not just any murder. This is as bloody as any samurai killing--but in place of the sword, the fatal weapon is a pair of ikebana scissors. Who among the genteel, proper women at the school could have committed such an atrocity? And most of all, why?
As Rei sets out to solve the mystery, she is threatened by all sorts of hostile influences, from a radical pro-environmentalist organization to a sinister and unseen writer of threatening haiku--to her own treacherous heart, as she finds herself drawn to the handsome son of the school's chairman.
It all makes for a fascinating and utterly wonderful mystery. This is a series not to be missed!
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4.0 out of 5 stars death among the flowers! March 30 2001
Format:Hardcover
The FLOWER MASTER is the very best so far in Sujata Massey's series featuring Rei Shimura. Rei has recently broken up with her boyfriend, so she's under the watchful eye of her Auntie Norie. Norie drags Rei to an ikebana (flower-arranging) class to give her some diversion from her failed romance, and to help mold her into a 'proper' young Japanese girl suitable for marrying. The ikebana school's director is found stabbed in the neck with a pair of ikebana scissors. (gruesome, but quite humourous touch here)
Thus, Rei is drawn into all the politics and maneuverings surrounding the next-likely successor to run the family-owned school. There's plenty of murder and intrigue afoot, and Rei has another potential boyfriend. He happens to be a son of the family running the school, and he's an enviromentalist as well. Prestige and power await the next director, if he/she lives long enough to accept the job. Rei finds out there's more to the world of ikebana than scissors and beautiful flowers.
Ms. Massey does a superb job of educating the reader on the intricacies of the art of ikebana, while spinning a great mystery. She's definitely developing a sure hand with her characters and the plotlines. Many congratulations on a job well done!
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3.0 out of 5 stars A PLEASER Oct. 8 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is my first outing w/Ms. Massey, and I agree it is a fascinating look at Japanese customs. The outsider status of an American-Japanes person is deftly handled. I particularly liked the problems Rei had with reading Japanese. It is perfectly understandable that a girl educated in the US would not be adept with Japanese symbols, if you think about it. I just never did. This affects Rei's everyday life, and Ms. Massey never lets us forget it. Not only did Rei have to solve the crime, she had to run around and get someone to read the newspaper to her. When she went out to dinner, she couldn't read the menu. This gave the story an added bit of realism.
The mystery was not as well done. It was diffused by the romance, the family, the shop-till-you-drop (dare I say airhead?) personality of Rei. She put forth some offbeat potential villains, but didn't put in the effort to make this a rousing whodunit. By the time Rei solves the mystery, I didn't much care, and I don't think she did either.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Colorful, fun romp through Japan.
In this, the third book in the Rei Shimura series that began with THE SALARYMAN'S WIFE, we attend ikebana (flower arranging) classes with Rei and her aunt and meet a lot of... Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2003 by MLPlayfair
5.0 out of 5 stars A fan of the series
I have read all of Sujata Massey's books, and enjoyed each one. She really knows how to tell a story. Read more
Published on Dec 30 2001 by Deborah Kemp
4.0 out of 5 stars iN THE GRAND TRADITION
This is the second Rei Shimura story I have read; "Zen Attitude" was the introduction to this very fine series. Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2001 by C. H. Backus
5.0 out of 5 stars terrific insight on modern day japanese life
I really enjoyed this book. rarely does a book captivate me so much that i constantly think about the next time i'll have a chance to read it. Read more
Published on Sept. 21 2000 by susan
5.0 out of 5 stars How do you say "bravo" in Japanese?
Sujata Massey keeps getting better! I thought ZEN ATTITUDE(#2 in the series) was a wonderful read, THE SALARYMAN'S WIFE (#1) less good, and this one, #3, is the best yet. Read more
Published on Sept. 20 2000 by marzipan
4.0 out of 5 stars More mystery from Massey
Massey scores another hit with me with this book. I was drawn to her first novel, "The Salaryman's Wife" when I was stationed in Bosnia. Read more
Published on Sept. 16 2000 by Double J
4.0 out of 5 stars Another fun read
Massey isn't Mosely, but her books are great in a different way. Massey books are just plain fun. Her books are perfect for plane rides, the beach, or anywhere you just want an... Read more
Published on Aug. 9 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars Who knew flower arranging could be so exciting?
This is the continuing story of Rei Shimura, a Japanese/American antiques dealer who immigrated to Japan to work and who struggles daily with the written language, as well as the... Read more
Published on July 19 2000 by Deborah Burnett
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read but I much prefered her earlier books.
I very much like Sujata Massey's style, and I am quite taken with her main character Rea Shimura. I also like the views that Massey gives us of Japanese life through the eyes of a... Read more
Published on July 17 2000 by Hank Schwartz
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